Reporter Series journalists tackle Great North Run in aid of Action for Children

BABY AND ME:  Parents and children take part in a play session at Chickenley, Earlsheaton and Shaw Cross Children's Centre  with family learning co-ordinator Lucille Sharpe.  (d29031215)
BABY AND ME: Parents and children take part in a play session at Chickenley, Earlsheaton and Shaw Cross Children's Centre with family learning co-ordinator Lucille Sharpe. (d29031215)
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REPORTER Series journalists Georgina Morris, Lauren Ballinger and Claire Armstrong are competing in this year’s Great North Run to raise funds for Action for Children.

Every year the charity helps thousands of children and young people across the UK.

Whether campaigning against child neglect, supporting children in care or running specialist schools, it pledges to be there ‘as long as it takes’.

And here in North Kirklees, staff at its five centres work to give all pre-school children the best start in life.

The children’s centres, run on behalf of Kirklees Council, offer antenatal classes, parenting courses, help with returning to work, family trips and a wide range of play and activity sessions.

Among them is the Baby and Me group which meets every Thursday afternoon at Chickenley, Earlsheaton and Shaw Cross Children’s Centre.

Family learning co-ordinator Lucille Sharpe said: “Baby and Me is all about exploring their senses and creativity. It’s a great way for the children to socialise with one another as well as the parents, grandparents or carers.

“Our sessions are all really well received and it bring the whole community together. It’s what our centres are all about.”

Dad Graeme Hannah and his 10-month-old daughter, Orla, are Baby and Me regulars.

“This is my day off and it’s nice for us to have a bit of play time,” he said. “It also means she can play with babies her own age.”

Mum Carly Smith-Ribka takes Ashton, five months, along to the session.

She said: “I wanted Ashton to be able to mix with other babies because I’ll be going back to work soon. I think it’s really brought him on.

“I enjoy it too because you can talk to others mums and ask for advice.”

Money raised by the Reporter Series team will support the work of all five centres – Chickenley, Earlsheaton and Shaw Cross; Flatts and Eastborough; Dewsbury Moor and Scout Hill; Ravensthorpe, and Mirfield.